Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lies, Damned Lies, and Belinda Cunanan

Rizalist suggested an old-fashioned means of responding to Ms. Belinda Cunanan's column piece entitled "Nine million hits for Sigaw website". I'm responding to that challenge. Call it the online equivalent of heckling which, I believe, is the appropriate response to Mrs. Arroyo's antics.

Dear Editor:

Ms. Belinda Olivares-Cunanan's column piece entitled "Nine million hits for Sigaw website" gave me a much-needed laugh as I read through your opinion pages. Nine million hits indeed! It's a wonder that Raul Lambino and company aren't lending their expertise to search engine optimization; they could be earning seriously big money in Internet consulting.

But the truth is that such a claim is simply preposterous. Some simple poking into the the domain name reveals that they are using Yahoo, and the professional hosting plan lists a maximum of 1.2 million visitors per month.

As per Ms. Cunanan's estimates, we have nine million Internet users in the Philippines? The CIA World Fact Book counts only 7.82 million users as of 2005. Ms. Cunanan erroneously equates a web site hit with a visitor.

It would have been more credible if the Sigaw ng Bayan web site had a legitimate measuring tool like Site Meter posted on their web site. Unfortunately, Mr. Lambino and company have conveniently ignored this and we are simply supposed to believe their claim of 326,119 total site visits -- not 9 million -- since April 8, 2006.

Even if Sigaw ng Bayan did have 9,000,000 hits, what of it? Does every visitor to the web site indicate assent to Charter Change? My goodness! Maybe I shouldn't have visited their web site at all! What of foreign visitors who may have stumbled onto their web site? Do we count their visit as a vote in favor of charter change?

A true test of the popularity of a web site is the number of other sites that link to it. You can do this on Google by typing in in the search bar. The result for Sigaw ng Bayan is a resounding "zero." In this regard, Mr. Lambino and company flunk as search engine optimization consultants.

But they do succeed as comedians. They made me laugh.

Dominique Gerald Cimafranca